Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bahia del Sol, El Salvador

Crossing the Bar!

Crossing the bar into Bahia del Sol proved to be a somewhat hair-raising experience, as we watched the massive surf break over the bar. The surge is such that a pilot must come out in a sea doo to guide you through the shallow channel . Chantey was second of the four boats waiting in trepedation to go through after the long double overnighter from Chiapas, Mexico.  We got the signal and turned our bow to face the wall of water coming at us. Taking a deep breath,  Daragh went full power and plunged into the surf, white knuckles gripping the wheel! In a matter of minutes we were through and had crossed into the tranquility of lovely Bahia del Sol. We anchored off the marina and headed ashore to a warm welcome from the 27 sailboats here for the Rally to El Salvador.
Tom and Lori of SV Camelot

El Salvador

After 12 years of civil war, life in El Salvador appears peaceful and the people are hopeful for a bright future. The new local government sponsored a dinner/dance for the cruisers in anticipation of more tourism from North America in years to come. We enjoyed 'pupus', the native munchies (tortillas filled with bits of meat and pickled veggies), hamburgers, and, of course,the Rally tote bag, filled with useful sailor paraphernalia. Then we danced in to the night to the rhythm of the Salvadoran version of The Macarena.

San Salvador and Antigua, Guatemala

After a couple of days lolling by the pool and catching up with cruisers, we planned a trip inland. Our first day trip took us into the the urban sprawl of San Salvador, the capital. Once there we deposited our Mac computer  at the Apple Store for repairs, after a wave splooshed through an open hatch during a crossing and doused the electronics. Dang!
Antigua jazz
      Bouncing along country roads on a Chicken Bus, one would never suspect that El Salvador had recently suffered through a civil war. There is still much work to be done, but it is obvious that these bright, hard-working people are eager to move on. Gazing out the window at the interplay of rural and urban life, one sees a herd of cows meander aimlessly down the center of the road, a peasant woman with a massive bale of sticks perched precariously on her head, a family making totillas on a wood stove at a stand outside KFC off a modern freeway.   Just another day in the life of Central America.

      A seemingly endless five and a half hour bus ride through La Libertad and Guatemala City, brought us to the quiet, refined streets of the old colonial capital of Antigua. The name conjures up ancient times....
crumbling edifices, narrow cobbled streets, quaint store fronts and casas with cool, green interior courtyards, coffee houses selling demi-tasse and delicacies, and all the amenities you would expect from a small European city transposed to Central America. Delightful!

    We spent 3 days visiting our Irish friend Turlough, at his exquisite home in the old quarter of the city. With Turlough as guide we wandered the ornate corridors of the city peering into tiendas and shops, checking out the wares and the colourful Guatemalan arts and crafts scene. We sat under a shady canopy of trees by a fountain  in the palaza , and enjoyed an evening jazz concert amid 15th century ruins, backlit with a stunning array of coloured lights.

 Next day we were off south for an overnight stay at the popular resort town of Panajacuel on Lake Atitlan. Guatemala is a country of vast mountain ranges, jungle foliage and volcanoes. We traveled to a summit of 6500 feet before descending to the picture postcard , azure blue lake below , set amongst 3 volcanoes. Simply breathtaking! Five small villages ring the lake. The Mayan villagers are very petite and gentle folk with ready smiles. All the women wear traditional dress; decorative, hand-woven, long skirts with bright , multicolored, adorned blouses and head scarves. Beautiful to behold! The homes are basic cinderblock and corrugated steel, with one simple woodstove, but as the weather is warm and balmy the construction needs are quite simple. We left Marios' Rooms, an inexpensive mini-hotel (basic breaky and dinner included for $32), for our return trip and last day with Turlough in Antigua. He introduced us to Jeremy and Sonia, an interesting sailing couple from England and Africa, living in Canada and traveling down the East Coast, who happen to own a Moody 376, the same boat as us! Daragh's eyes lit up and the boat banter was on! We hope to meet up again one day, perhaps at the Rio Dulce, on the Caribbean side.

    Early Saturday morning we reluctantly packed our bags and said farewell to our dear friend. Turlough had a picnic lunch tucked away for us and perfect for a long day on hot Chicken Buses.

1 comment:

  1. You guys look so healthy and happy. Your uk family are loving the blog and the snaps. Sorry we did not make the wedding, I seem to recall you were a dab hand at photoshop, so that can be fixed for future generations.... Love peter Sharon Paul Adam Rebecca and helena x